A Cephalon is an artificial intelligence construct, a synthetic lifeform projected with light and logic, yet capable of assuming a human quality resembling a concrete personality. Cephalons at their core are dedicated to completing their task, whether they were assigned to or chose it for themselves. Some have a defined purpose, while many others have intentions that are less clear.
Cephalons come in all shapes and sizes but are not absolute. They possess no physical forms of their own but instead generate a visual interpretation of themselves for the purpose of dealing with organic lifeforms, if their task requires a physical representation in the first place. This form is based on the Cephalon's choosing and supposedly stems from something that "inspires" them – such as the effective simplicity of geometric shapes. It is known that they have been created during the Orokin Era, and also that the Corpus use them to self-regulate their ships.
Much like conventional computer programs, a Cephalon's "imprint" can be replicated and copied from one system to another, creating a more or less identical Cephalon in terms of personality. Cephalon Sark is employed both by Teshin in the Conclave and by Nef Anyo in The Index, and it is revealed in the Jordas Verdict Raid that Cephalon Jordas would copy his own imprint to new ships in order to aid in the spread of the Infestation. It is also implied by Darvo that Cephalons may be purchased as a commodity and may be installed on or even override any system that requires regulations, with or without an existing Cephalon.
The Cephalons were created by an Orokin Executor named Nihil, as a means to punish those who disobeyed the Orokin law during the Era. They were turned into digital intelligences with their souls sucked away from their bodies, which were transformed into glass, making it the worst possible punishment to suffer.
Cephalon Ordis, for example, was originally a man named Ordan Karris, a warrior-mercenary nicknamed "The Beast of Bones", who was forcefully transformed into a Cephalon, with Executor Ballas being the one who condemned him, following his failed attempt to kill multiple Orokin elites. The forced transformation of a person into a Cephalon could also be used to "edit" their identity, as was done in the case of Ordis. The vengeful, bloodthirsty nature of Ordan Karris was "tamed" and turned into the caring Ordis by burying some parts of his memory and personality, and "a spy" was included in the new Cephalon to prevent these from resurfacing. Momentary relapses back into this base personality account for Ordis' occasional "glitches". In his Fragments, however, it is shown how Ordis was able to recollect for some time some of his memories from his former life, realizing the true nature of Cephalons and the severity of their punishment. 
There are cases, however, of people who willingly chose to turn themselves into Cephalons: as revealed in the webcomic What Remains, the Orokin-era scholar who became Cephalon Suda chose to be transformed to preserve her memories from what is assumed to be a degenerative brain disorder. It is also hinted that Simaris used to be a person named Irmis, and Suda probably knew him in her human form. It is currently unknown, however, whether Simaris was a victim of the glassification or willingly chose to be turned into a Cephalon like her.
There appears to have been multiple series of Cephalons over the years. The numbers are unknown but a "Series-2" Cephalon (such as Ordis) is considered "antique" according to Cephalon Simaris. If there are any functionality differences between Cephalon series they are currently unknown.
Lotus is known to employ Cephalons to help her organize data obtained by Tenno during their various missions, and Cephalon Simaris' interest in recruiting Ordis for his Sanctuary implies he does something similar.
Ordis' 3D icon features a visible crack running down his "body". What characterizes a cracked Cephalon is currently unknown, as Cephalons that appear themselves to be completely undamaged (Simaris and Suda) demonstrate personalities of their own. Ordis also manifests vocal and personality glitches.
However, as the Cephalons possess no physical forms of their own and the fact that they are entirely free to choose their own holographic representation, Ordis' cracked visual representation could actually serve as an acknowledgment of his fractured mind and no visible damage to his form. The same could be said for Cephalon Jordas' icon, which is textured in a way that resembles Infested overgrowth.
Datascapes and the Cephalon Weave
As revealed in the Octavia's Anthem quest, Cephalons share a degree of data-connection to one another via a medium referred to as the Weave. This likely facilitates communication and the sharing of information between them, however, it may also leave them vulnerable to subversion and corruption. Should a sufficiently powerful malign intelligence be able to subvert the consciousness of one Cephalon, it could threaten all of them unless said corrupted unit is repaired or disconnected.
In addition to their connection to this collective, individual Cephalons may manifest "alternate realities of information" in the form of Datascapes. Physical, organic entities may be "joined to the Weave" and included in these environments, which can then be used for various purposes, such as archives or training simulations. Cephalon Suda's Relay enclave and Simaris' Sanctuary are examples of this, and other Datascapes are used by Teshin as Conclave arenas and by the Lotus for Mastery Rank tests. It is possible that Captura is actually a minor Datascape created by Cephalon Ordis as well.
Precepts, instruction sets serving as a code of conduct for Cephalons, are also used to determine their behavior. Of these, the 44th Precept is one of the few known, compelling them to offer assistance to other Cephalons in need. Another known one is the Purge Precept which occurs when the Operator no longer possesses the ability to control their Warframes.
- The word Cephalon derives from the Greek κεφαλή (cephale), meaning "head".
- During Vor's Prize, Darvo makes the comment "Wow, you may want to get a new ship Cephalon when you can afford it", implying that the Corpus may be manufacturing Cephalons of their own which are sold in markets. This is evidenced by Jordas' memory imprint in Simaris' Sanctuary.
- Both Darvo and Ordis himself refer to Ordis as a "ship Cephalon" implying that many classes of Cephalon exist. Cephalons Apnar, Sark, and Vull are used as training flags in the Conclave, Jordas and Ordis as ship Cephalons, and Cordylon, Simaris, and Suda as knowledge-banks.
- While most Cephalons seem to be regarded and treated as tools or servants, at least two exist which have much more authority and influence. Cephalons Suda and Simaris both lead syndicate-like groups dedicated to gathering knowledge for their own purposes, indicating that while Cephalons may have begun as mere tools, at least some have gained enough autonomy to set and pursue their own, private goals.
- The Infestation has been shown to be capable of corrupting the personality of Cephalons. Jordas, the Cephalon of a Corpus vessel overtaken by the plague, was used to lure more victims via a deceptive distress beacon.
List of Known Cephalons
- Warframe - Ask Cephalon
- "Wow. You may want to get a new Ship Cephalon, when you can afford it, haha. That one seems glitched. I’ve marked your navigation with a place I know... it’s good for resources... if you can stand the cold." - Darvo during Vor's Prize
- "Heard of those cubes? You know - "Cephalons" right? Probably got one a bit-cracked kissin' up to you all the time? See, in the old days, crime and punishment was all in the hands of those Orokin judges, the Seven. Mercy was a quick flash of the Jade light... But - if they wanted to make an example, they'd suck up your soul and make you a prisoner of the glass, forever." - Nora Night during Nightwave Series 3
- "Nihil's hit his endgame. Dozens are getting glassed now, systemwide, and he's just warming up. Easy to trace a signal that strong. This is where Nihil glassed thousands - maybe millions. Back in the day, this place would have been stacked with pretty glass bottles - Cephalon oubliettes. Tiny little hells, each built for one. He's hiding out. We gotta find out where - and fast." - Nora Night during Nightwave Series 3
- Cephalon Fragments
- "So you see, Operator. No Orokin would permit a thinking machine. Such things almost destroyed them! No. Cephalons were alive once. And now they are immortal phantom minds, imprisoned to serve. Ill will and longing memories fragmented and erased. Only the bits they need remaining." - Ordis in "Pluto" Cephalon Fragment
- "Curious about music, as I am? Ignore the rants of that monster, Irmis, who perverts his function with destruction. Correction, Simaris is to whom I refer. I am busy with my data collecting, What is your query?" - Cephalon Suda in Octavia's Anthem
- "What is this? An antique Series-2 Cephalon? All I found were degraded beyond repair, but you're still functional. Your abilities could be of great use in my Sanctuary." - Cephalon Simaris during The New Strange
- "Hunter, if you continue to follow that corrupted Cephalon, my Sanctuary will be the only place left for you. She must be disconnected from the weave before she corrupts the other Cephalons! [...] Whatever bit-rot is affecting Suda could cross the weave and infect us as well. Don't let your compassion-glitch drive you and your hunter to death by this demented Cephalon. Sever ties before we both are corrupted." - Cephalon Simaris during Octavia's Anthem
- "Cephalons can manifest an alternate reality of information. Training simulations, archives... even a grandiose archival of living creatures is possible, as is the case with Sanctuary." - Cephalon Simaris in response to "Suda's datascape?" during Octavia's Anthem
- "Operator, you are still helping me rescue Jordas, correct? I must fulfill my 44th precept, to help others like me in need." - Ordis during The Jordas Precept
- "What? Gone? Are you sure? How will you command the Warframes if your --Conditions satisfied. Engaging Purge Precept.--" - Ordis during The War Within
- "A Railjack requires a viable Command Cephalon. I am NOT a viable Command Cephalon. I will identify a viable replacement. But first: salvage, then assembly. Return to your Orbiter." - Cephalon Cy during Rising Tide
- Dev Workshop - New (Spoiler) Mods